Mono Lake: Panum Crater

Due to the government shutdown during our visit to Yosemite National Park last week, we decided to head over to Mono Lake and hike the rim of a volcano instead!  Panum Crater, located just off Highway 120 near the South Tufa Area of the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, is part of a chain of volcanic cones called the Mono-Inyo Craters.   These are considered to be the youngest mountain range in all of North America!  The hike around the rim of the crater is only about two miles, but can be difficult at times due to the sandy nature of the trail.  My 6-year-old has been fascinated by obsidian for the past year or so, so he was completely engaged in the vast amounts of the black volcanic glass found all along the trail.  I’m not exactly sure where his interest in obsidian came from, but it’s probably because it’s what the local Native Americans (the Paiutes) used to make arrow heads out of.  While my son had his head down checking out the obsidian, my husband and I were blown away by the 360 degree views surrounding us.

Here are some images of the gorgeous scenery that can be found along the short hike.  The views of the Eastern Sierras, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley, the Great Basin, and the Panum Crater itself are incredible.












Photos taken during our hike on October 6th, 2013

Interested in going?  I found this information from the Sierra Nevada Geotourism Mapguide to be helpful… Panum Crater at Mono Lake.

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  1. brucethomasw says:

    Last time this year my wife and I, from British Columbia, spent a day in the Mono Lake area. This post brings back good memories. Thanks.


    1. Linda says:

      You’re welcome, Bruce!


  2. Deb Platt says:

    What incredible scenery! I wasn’t even aware of this young mountain range.

    Does your son have any Indian arrowheads?


    1. Linda says:

      I’ve been to other sections of these craters before, but not this one. But I didn’t know that they are the youngest in the North America! And, no, my son has no arrowheads. As for arrowheads, we have one that my husband found. My son is yet to find one himself.


  3. Mark in Sumpter says:

    somtimes, the unplanned adventures turn out to be the best! Great photos (as usual)


    1. Linda says:

      Thanks, Mark! I completely agree. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Amy says:

    Beautiful photos of the lake! I like the 4th one too.


    1. Linda says:

      Thanks! I took the 4th photo because I loved the view of the Minarets. Here are some images of the same mountains from a different angle, from our trip there a year ago…


  5. Alex Jones says:

    Shiny and black, obsidian would interest me too for the things I could do with it.


    1. Linda says:

      It’s a beautiful rock. Just imagine thousands and thousands of the these shiny, black rocks strewn along the trail. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Alex Jones says:

        I am trying to ๐Ÿ™‚


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